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Meet Courtney Kemp Agboh

Courtney Kemp Agboh on How She Became a Showrunner, and Why She Doesn’t Feel Responsible to Make ‘Better Female Characters’

Do you worry about your representation of female characters — because you are a woman, do you think people expect more of you?

Well, I don't think the show is that masculine. It has a male protagonist, but the show is actually really sensitive and vulnerable and feeling-y.

That's really true.

What I would say is that if you enter the show in a place of looking, I'm doing a little sleight of hand [gestures]. I'm letting male viewers go into the show and see sex and relationships with women … The female characters are really strong and realized and smart. Nobody's dumb. Nobody is bimbo-y. Nobody is a pushover. I think that Ghost should not fuck with these women. They are not easy bitches. As a woman, I don't feel like I have a responsibility to create better female characters. I feel like I have a responsibility to create good characters. Because the truth is, those kinds of things ghettoize us even more as writers. My job isn't to make great women; my job is to make a great fucking show so that the next time a woman wants to run her own show, somebody says, “Yeah, she can probably do it because that other bitch did it.” Even though that is ghettoizing us again, that's how people think. When people ask me, “Has Shonda Rhimes opened a lot of doors for you,” no. I've never met her.

“She's not held the door for me once.”

And she really hasn't. But, do I think that it helps that people might have seen her in the world and go, “Yeah.” Of course it does. You know what I mean? Sure, fine, whatever. But the people that open the door for me, the Kings, Yvette Lee Bowser, Greg Berlanti, you know.

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